Since martial art instructors earn money at teaching the martial arts, they may be loosely considered professionals. However, to be considered professionals in the strictest sense, they need a nationally sanctioned organization that sets and enforces standards and a code of ethics for the martial arts teaching profession. This will not be an easy task.
Martial arts deal with combat, which is a male dominated aspect of society. Combat is sometimes a necessary evil that is needed to defeat those who want to dominate or kill others. However, most times, combat is merely macho, ego driven fighting to "protect" one's manhood. This means that those involved in the martial arts have large egos and are very territorial about their arts and their positions in each art. For them to relinquish any control to a national organization would be an affront to their manhood.
Until martial art leaders can come together and form a joint professional organization that governs the profession of teaching the martial arts, martial art instructing will continue to be a mere occupation that does not get the respect it deserves from society.